The offenses dominated the first half of Friday night’s showdown between rivals Greenwood and Franklin, but it was the Woodmen defense that had the final word.
Anthony Williams rushed for three touchdowns and Greenwood pitched a second-half shutout to seal a 41-25 victory against the Warriors.
Whiteland (2-7, 2-4) got 100-yard rushing games from both Jake Perry and Ryan Hammond, but it failed to score on any of its five second-half possessions — or even cross midfield until less than three minutes remained.
“We got talked to in the locker room (at halftime),” Greenwood defensive tackle Nick Young said, “but we definitely came out fired up, ready to go, because we weren’t going to let anybody beat us on our senior night.”
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Defense was the story after halftime, but the first two quarters belonged to the offenses.
Greenwood (7-2, 4-2) scored just 77 seconds in on a 28-yard keeper by Seth Gallman, but the Warriors responded with a 10-play drive, tying it at 6-6 on a 2-yard run by Preston Phillips.
After the Warriors took a seven-point lead on Perry’s 56-yard run, Greenwood got within one on a 5-yard run by Williams. Then, after a Whiteland fumble set the Woodmen up with first and goal on the 8, Williams bulled his way in again from 3 yards out.
Hammond sprinted 70 yards on the next play from scrimmage, cutting the gap to 20-19 with 9:56 to go in the half.
“It just kind of opened up outside,” Hammond said, “so I just took it out there. Our wide receiver made a great block, and it was open.”
The Woodmen appeared set going into the break after Nick Willham scored from 4 yards out with 1:18 to go, but the Warriors took advantage of some flags and a long run by Perry, scoring with 5.7 seconds on the clock when Iyan Pelfree found Hammond from the 4.
Much like Greenwood had on its second touchdown, though, Whiteland had a successful two-point conversion wiped out by a penalty and then failed on its second try. That left the Woodmen in front 27-25 at the midway point.
A 7-yard scoring run by Gallman stretched the Greenwood lead to 33-25, but a blocked extra point kept it a one-score game. Whiteland, though, was unable to take advantage of the window.
“We tackled better in the second half,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said.
Both teams are on the road for sectional-openers next week. The Woodmen travel to Beech Grove, while the Warriors play at Bloomington South.